Boothbay Harbor “Mini-Pelagic” with Cap’n Fish’s Cruises
Join us on three special cruises dedicated to off-shore birding: a collaboration with Cap'n Fish's Cruises offering half-day “mini-pelagics!” We'll seek out the rare and common seabirds that occur in our nearshore waters, but we will always have the hope for something unexpected. Derek will team up with the boat's expert naturalists to spot, identify, and point out pelagic seabirds. Chumming efforts will provide opportunities to attract the birds in for better photo ops and viewing. While we’ll stop to look at any whales and whatever other interesting sea life we encounter along the way, it is the feathered wildlife we’re searching for, and will be focused on.
For the boat’s COVID-19 safety protocols, please see: https://www.boothbayboattrips.com/covid-guidelines/
June 6th, 2022
The early season "mini-pelagic" will have the opportunity to visit Eastern Egg Rock in addition to heading offshore. Nesting colonies in and around EER include Atlantic Puffins, Common Terns, Arctic Terns, Roseate Terns, and plenty of Black Guillemots. Sightings of Razorbills are likely, and in 2020, a Common Murre was occasionally seen! We'll then turn for deeper waters where pelagic species may include Leach's Storm-Petrels and Manx Shearwaters, both of which will be returning to local breeding islands. Other species we'll be hoping for include early-arriving shearwaters or Wilson's Storm-Petrels. Migrant jaegers are also possible and we'll look for lingering Great Cormorants.
July 15th, 2022
Derek will be onboard for this special Whale Watch & Birding Buffs Combo Cruise. The itinerary will include a visit to Eastern Egg Rock as well as whale feeding grounds. Nesting colonies and pelagic sightings will be highlighted. Around EER at this time we can expect to find Atlantic Puffins, Common Terns, Arctic Terns, Roseate Terns, Laughing Gulls, Double-Crested Cormorants, Common Eider, Black Guillemots, with a chance of Razorbill and Common Murre. Off-shore sightings may include Northern Gannets, up to 4 species of Shearwaters (Great, Sooty, Cory's, and Manx), and Wilson's Storm Petrels. Sorry, no chumming this time.
October 11th, 2022
Following the success of our first collaboration in 2020, we're excited to head offshore once again. This fall excursion gives a chance at some very sought after pelagic species, such as Great Skua. More likely species include Northern Fulmar; Black-legged Kittiwake; Pomarine and Parasitic Jaeger; shearwaters – Great, Sooty, Cory’s, and possibly even Manx; Razorbill and Atlantic Puffin; Red and Red-necked Phalaropes, and much more. Other possible, if unlikely, species at this date include South Polar Skua, and maybe even an early Dovekie.
The inaugural 2020 outing brought us 3 amazing sightings of Leach’s Storm-Petrels. The full species list can be found here.
The June 2021 trip report is posted here.
The July 2021 trip report is posted here.
The October 2021 trip report is posted here.
We’ll leave the dock promptly at each trip's departure time for a 4-5 hour trip. Snacks and beverages are available for purchase, but you are welcome to pack your own food and water. Be prepared for light rain or showers, and bring plenty of layers for staying comfortable outside. Likewise, with any boat trip, weather cancellations for wind or waves (especially in fall) are always possible.
Registration is through Cap’n Fish, which can be made online at the 'Tickets" link above, or by calling 207-613-7339.
All other information can be found here, including directions, parking, and boat information: https://www.boothbayboattrips.com/faq/
Seal Island Seabird Charter
July 2023 TBA
1:00 - 6:00pm
***IMPORTANT NOTE: As of June 1, 2022, "Troppy" the Red-billed Tropicbird had not returned. In what would have been his 18th season in the area, he failed to show for his usual mid-May return date. Despite the presence of Puffin Project biologists on the island, there have yet to be any sightings. We all hope he has finally found “love”, perhaps in the right place this time and is generating a Troppy, Jr. somewhere in the Caribbean. But, with so much more to see, the trip shall go on!***
We are offering one trip this year to look for “Troppy (see note above),” the world’s most famous Red-billed Tropicbird that has called the island home since 2005! Seal Island is the best place to see this West Indian vagrant in North America or the “ABA Area.” In fact, we have managed to see it on 4 out of 6 trips with the good folks on the "Otter".
**Payment in full is required to guarantee your space. Passenger limit is 40 people. If the trip is cancelled due to sea conditions, there will be a full refund. If you sign up and need to cancel, and we are able to fill your space, you will also receive a full refund. Unfortunately, refunds will not be given if the trip runs but we fail to make it to Seal Island for any reason, and this is at the sole discretion of the captain.**
Our special charter will provide us with extended search time, covering the best window of the day to see Troppy. While calm seas and clear skies will be most helpful, we’ll at least have plenty of time to look around no matter what.
And if we don’t see this “target?’ Well, I guess we’ll have to suffer through hundreds of Atlantic Puffins and countless Black Guillemots! Razorbills and Common Murres are expected, and we’ll visit Maine’s last remaining colony of Great Cormorants. Thousands of Arctic and Common Terns will be wheeling around adding to the impressive show at this amazing seabird breeding island. For those who don’t like to visit cold climates, here’s your chance to see all of these species at one time! And where else in the world can you see Arctic alcids side-by-side with a bird that has “tropic” in its name?
It’s likely we’ll already be seeing some southbound migrant shorebirds, and depending on conditions, we have a chance to see Wilson’s Storm-Petrels, Northern Gannets, Great and Sooty Shearwaters, and, since it’s the open water – who knows what else!? Our 2018 trip produced a single Manx Shearwater, for example.
Time permitting, we’ll check Saddleback Ledge for immature Great Cormorants among the abundant Double-crested, a variety of gulls, and migrant shorebirds. Expect Harbor and perhaps Gray Seals, while Harbor Porpoise and whales – especially Minke – are possible, as are several very large fish like Mola Mola and Basking Shark.
The trip includes the boat charter and guiding fees. Parking is available at the dock for $12 on a first come, first serve basis. Alternatively, there are a variety of parking options in the town of Stonington.
Directions to the dock:
From Points South - take Interstate 295 and 95 to Augusta, pick up Rte. 3 to Belfast, and then take Rte. 1 & 3 east through Bucksport to Orland, follow Rte. 15 south to Stonington. Turn left onto Seabreeze Ave upon entering town.
From Points North - take 95 to Bangor then 395 to Brewer, then take Rte. 15 south to Stonington. Turn left onto Seabreeze Ave upon entering town.